KANCHIBIYA PF member of parliament Sunday Chanda says subjecting only politicians to lifestyle audits is counterproductive because corruption emanates from the private sector and it is the civil servants who drive it.
In an interview, Monday, Chanda said government would not make a lot of progress in the fight against corruption if it only targeted politicians.
“A starting point would be for us to redefine the fight against corruption. Unfortunately, the fight against corruption will be won or lost on the premise that we either understand corruption as we are supposed to or we decide to look at corruption as a cancer that only affects, or a cancer that is only perpetrated by politicians. In order to fight corruption, you will also need to understand that there are two sides to any corrupt transaction, at least two sides. There is a corrupter on one hand and you also have the corruptee on the other hand. Now when you talk about public procurement, you will also understand that procurement in these institutions and government ministries is carried out by civil servants on one hand and the private sector on the other,” he said.
“To fight corruption with the understanding that it is only a cancer affecting politicians, we will be missing the whole picture and we are not going to score as much progress as we should. So any interventions proposed must then touch on politicians if they are influencing procurement directly or indirectly, but it is also important for any interventions to also look at civil servants and interventions must also look at the private sector because that is where you find corruption emanating. It’s the civil servants handling procurements, it’s the private sector getting the contracts, tenders. So to only insist that let’s have lifestyle audits for politicians is being superficial and we are not doing anything but scratching the tip of an iceberg.”
Chanda said Zambia could only fight corruption effectively and efficiently with strong investigative wings in place.
“My proposal would be that in order to fight corruption effectively and efficiently, we must learn where we are coming from and to understand that the fight against corruption can only be won by strengthened institutions. So let us strengthen institutions such as the Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC), the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC), the Zambia police etc. That is what we must be discussing. It’s not about someone’s lifestyle audit, we know that people can front others, people can hide businesses in other people’s names. We know that that happens but in order to fight corruption, we must strengthen institutions, investigative institutions. The more reason we need good institutions is because when you have weak institutions even the so-called good people risk being compromised in the process,” he said.
“Let’s create institutions that are not at the mercy of politicians, institutions not detected by political institutions and political offices. I don’t want to be part of those that want to see fancy headlines but my submission is that let us go for the creation of good institutions. With good institutions, with strong institutions, you can fight corruption.”
Meanwhile, Chanda said he was finding it exciting being a member of parliament.
“I think I’m finding it pretty exciting, I have never been in government per se besides having worked in the party. So being in parliament, being a back bencher is pretty exciting. There is a lot of learning that is also happening. There is also a lot of reaching out, lobbying for development for my people in Kanchibiya and also just trying to understand that there is more that needs to be done,” said Chanda.